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The ABLES by Jeremy Scott

The ABLES (edition 2015)

by Jeremy Scott

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847239,569 (3.5)1
The story of a teenager named Phillip who is blind and is told by his father that Phillip has telekinetic powers. He attends a school for those with similar powers but soon finds that others harass him because he is put in a special education class. He and his friends call themselves the Ables and discover that a malevolent force is going after humans.… (more)
Title:The ABLES
Authors:Jeremy Scott
Info:Clovercroft Publishing (2015), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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The ABLES by Jeremy Scott



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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This review and others posted over at my blog.

This was a reread for me and I enjoyed the story more the second time around!

I initially read The Ables back in 2015 (wow, that long ago!?) when Jeremy Scott (of Cinema Sins fame) first published his book. I rated the book 3 out of 5 stars – I enjoyed the characters and the mix of powers and disabilities, but added some sins *ding!* for a monologuing villain and the lack of training for the kids.

The second time around was no different than the first when it comes to my love of the characters. Phillip and his main friend group – Henry, Bentley, Freddie, James and Donnie – are likable, funny, and flawed. Phillip especially, as the narrator, displays a lot of wisdom and positivity for a fourteen(ish) year-old boy and also manages to be a colossal idiot. He’s slow to learn some lessons, but learn them he does! (On the heels of a book about another teen boy, I much prefer the character development in this story.) I enjoyed the development of the friendship of the boys and how they learn to make use of their own and each other’s disabilities and powers to form a team.

The addition of disabilities to characters with superpowers is both engaging and realistic. In a world where people have the powers of flight, telepathy, telekinesis, weather control and everything in between, it would be impossible to think some wouldn’t also have common disabilities such as blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome. Some characters find their powers aren’t so much affected by their disability – such as Henry, who is in a wheelchair but has telepathy – and yet, due to their disability they are still placed in a special class in the school and banned from the training completion. It’s a very interesting premise.

I think the pacing flowed well too – there was a good mix of action and downtime and Phillip’s narration was easy to read.

But, as the Cinema Sins tagline says: no movie is without sin. No book is without sin either:

There aren’t a lot of female characters in this book. Now, I get that fourteen-year-old boys probably aren’t hanging out with a lot of girls, and I also don’t think every book needs to have an equal mix of genders. But the two (or three? See, so forgettable) girls in the special ed class are glossed over and not involved in the training competition. The only other present female is Phillip’s mom. I won’t go into any spoilers, but I’ve got some issues there too!

Now, for this training competition I keep mentioning. There are competitions held throughout the school year where the adults in town stage crimes and the students form teams and use their powers in “real” situations in order to practice fighting crime. This is definitely some good hands-on practice – but I was curious if there was any specialized training in the classroom to help the students develop their powers. For instance, Phillip is telekinetic, but if no one teaches him how to use his powers or helps him practice, how is he supposed to do well in the competition? I definitely don’t want chapters upon chapters of classroom training and montages and that sort of thing, but I think it would have been good to know if the school provided any sort of education about the students’ various powers.

There’s not much to say about the monologuing villain – that’s a trope we’re all familiar with. It’s not even one I mind, but it’s definitely a common sin on Cinema Sins so I feel obligated to point it out. I did also wonder about the motivations of his key henchman, but it wasn’t anything that really annoyed me.

In all, this was a fantastic book and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel. I’ve upped my rating to a 4. I am hoping to see some more characters in the second book, maybe a lady or two, or even just other students outside the friend group.

I recommend this if:

+ You’re looking for some disability rep in your superhero novel
+ You like YA contemporary fantasy centered around a male protagonist with NO ROMANCE
+ You want to support the creator of Cinema Sins in his writing endeavors ( )
  MillieHennessy | Aug 6, 2019 |
Those who feel that the disabilities these superheroes have get in the way of their superpowers are exactly right.

Those who feel that the disabilities these superheroes have get in the way of their superpowers, and that that is a valid reason to give this book a bad rating, are completely missing point.

If you want a traditional superhero novel where everyone is perfect, always a hero, unrealistically amazing, and they never make any mistakes nor have any actual growth as a person, then don't read this book.

If you want a non-traditional superhero novel with a new take on where superheroes come from, then read this book. These are every-day humans who genetically are given the ability to do super-human things, but who are, like many humans, also sometimes held back by physical disabilities (and emotions and just being human in general) and learn to overcome all that. No one in this book is a Mary Sue or a Gary Stu, and it is only right that it be that way or it wouldn't make any sense to have written this book to begin with.

I don't generally like to make assumptions about what an author was trying to do with a book. But, neither do I think it is fair to allow a book like this to, in my opinion, go completely misunderstood and under-appreciated. I feel a need to say that I think that what Scott was trying to do here was create something unusual and different, not just by attempting to write a book through a blind person's eyes (so to speak), but by attempting to write a book where superheroes grow and actually earn their rep, yo--and not just grow into their superpowers, but into human beings as a whole who learn to contribute positively to society, by suffering tragedy and by cooperating with fellow humans to overcome challenges. Yes, it takes a while for these children to really understand their powers and work together, but through that struggle, they begin to understand not just their fellow man, but their enemies and themselves. To save the world, you must understand all of those things.

Is this book perfect? No. There are inconsistencies, confusions, grammatical mistakes, editorial repetition, and it's predictable in some areas (not all, at least not for me--I did at least have one big part predicted, though another totally escaped me!). But, it is overall very enjoyable, a quick read, and a unique book that I am glad to have read.

If you like Scott's CinemaSins YouTube channel, I strongly suggest listening to the audiobook. I got the audiobook so I could finish this book faster while running errands and driving to work, and I'm really glad I did. The book reads like Scott talks, which is made even better when he is actually reading it. And, though there is not a big different between how each voice sounds, the voice acting itself is marvelous and makes up for it. It is exactly like listening to Scott's YouTube channel, and thoroughly enjoyable. I just really enjoy both his voice (very soothing!) and find him to be a really good actor overall. This book will likely fit right into my rotation of audiobooks that I listen to over and over. ( )
  wordcauldron | Jul 12, 2018 |
If only I had Jeremy's snark and sarcasm to successfully sin... erm, review this book. A regular review will have to do.

Plot: Superheroes from different backgrounds come together, combining their powers to save the city. Would seem like another good guy beats bad guy, but this time, it's disabled superheroes (called custodians/aka guardians) who recently were told they have special powers. Our narrator/main protag, Philip Sallinger, is a blind telekinetic, so a lot of what he is describing can only be seen as speculation (until something happens...) The storyline wasn't as predictable as I thought. Certainly a lot of double-crossing. And an awful lot of exposition. Now it was good to learn a lot of the history of Freepoint and how custodians work and all that; only thing is, for the first half of the novel, there was less action, and more explanation, then actual action. Even with Philip being a novice at his powers, some scenes where it wasn't all about story telling would have been nice. Second half of the novel was much better, and seeing Philip become stronger, along with all his teammates, was especially nice to read. Jeremy got the message across loud and clear - as much as our disabilities can prevent us from doing something, if we have conviction, we can do anything.

One last thing... the only predictable aspect was Donnie. If only he didn't disappear. He was a great character but I wish he could have been explored more, besides being that special kid with Down syndrome.

Characters: The main 7 guys, or The Ables, all have their disabilities and powers, which were really unique, but I really don't hear mention of the others disadvantages. Of course we'll know about Philip's blindness, but I don't really hear much of Bentley's, and he has ataxic cerebral palsy. Bentley-Philip-Henry are the main trio, but I would have liked to learn about the others. Or even have Penelope, aka weather girl, have something to do with The Ables. Lacking in female heroines here!

Oh I can sin this! Chad is dick to disabled people. Like dang... What makes him hate guys with disabilities so much?

Flow: Was slow and full of exposition for half of the story, but picked up in speed in the latter half. This is also the part I personally preferred.

Misc: Several typos here and there, probably the result of independent publishing company. Also too many blank pages! This shouldn't be a sin but I'll make it one anyway.

Overall: Plot was great, a different take on a typical superhero story. Buuut there could have been less exposition, more action, and more expansion on several characters. And there's a twist in the middle of this book that makes me extremely sad... So I wouldn't recommend it for kids. It's def a teens - older book.

4/5 stars ( )
  raisinetta | Sep 25, 2017 |
Read all reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

I wanted to like this book so bad! I'm a big fan of the YouTube Channel CinemaSins and when I heard the voice behind it had written a book, I thought that was right into my alley. When I got an eARC of the book, I was very happy!

Jokingly I told my friends I would certainly go and sin the book just as the movies, but I didn't know that would be such a massive job. The premise of disabled super heroes working together to save the world and overcome their disabilities was nice enough. Unfortunately, it was filled with almost all the clichés in the book and that was something I didn't expected (as in the CinemaSins they always make fun of clichés in movies). Besides in the beginning I found it far too easy to put the book down and read something else instead. I some times need to do that if I have another review book that needs to be read first, but it was simply too easy this time. It took about the halfway mark before I was really invested in the story. After that point it was a nice and quick read. And please, let me explain: I did enjoy reading it, it just wasn't as original as I hoped it would be.

Some minor spoilers may follow as I try to explain this.

The MC, Philip, is blind, which is inconvenient to say the least with his flowering superpower of telekinesis. After moving to a city that is completely filled with superheroes (and some of their minions), even though his little brother isn't to know about all this for some time (which I think is hard in a city filled with superheroes) and which seemed like a terrible strategic choice because if I were a super villain, I'd know just which city to nuke!

Philip attends the special high school for super heroes, but is put in a weird hodgepodge class of disabled children. I was wondering why all these children were put in that class in the first place. Many of them seemed to be ABLE to attend regular classes I'd say. There's for example a deaf girl (but can't she lip read? and if not, what is the use of placing her together with blind kids for sign language) and a boy with I think some kind of spasms in his leg. Why would you need to go to a special class for that? I spent my whole secondary school with a boy in my class who also suffered from leg spasms and we just helped him from room to room and there wasn't a single problem.

The deaf girl's superpower is superhearing, which is utterly useless to her and proves that life's a bitch. It's said that the whole superpower thing has something to do with genetics, since it's mostly familial, but then again it's said that only 10% of the children inherit the same power as their parents. How does THAT work? I wonder.

On this High School, and brace yourself: clichés are coming, an old tournament, that's been abandoned for years because of safety issues, has been brought back but our band of disabled super heroes is banned from participating. (I'm quite sure you also thought for a moment I was talking about The Goblet of Fire). For some reason, they are then allowed to participate, they find some evidence that a certain villain is on the rise but when they're back at school no one believes them? Sounds familiar, huh?

The rest I'll leave to yourself to figure out, but believe me: it doesn't end their. Also featured:

dead parents cliché, prophecy of a chosen one cliché, 'Luke, I'm your father'-cliché

From the blurb I'd gotten the idea that The Ables was also going to be about overcoming disabilities, and I thought that would be a wonderful message to spread. But 'overcoming' in this context mostly meant using other powers to fill in the gap. It's not about using telekinesis as a blind person, it's about borrowing someone else's vision to do it more easily. That felt a bit like cheating...

All in all, while enjoyable it was also cliché-ridden and that made me cringe more than once. Would I read the sequel? I probably would, but I wouldn't set my expectations quite as high as I did for this one.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
This is for a younger audience than I thought. It's a simple comic book plot, but a decent one. It's got some cliches. Doesn't break out of a mold or do anything to distinguish itself. It's no "Steelheart" or "Soon I Will Be Invincible". It's supposed to be about disabled superheroes, but the disabling doesn't come up much.

It's fun to see them come up with ways around it (like hooking a telepath to a viewscreen of the blind guy's POV). But they find ways around it quickly and it ceases to be an issue. Katawa Shoujo did a better job of dealing with the day-to-day hardships and it had a variety of characters -- thematically exploring who lets their disability define them and who doesn't. There isn't much of the daily life struggles they face, like the handicapped guy getting stared at. That's the sort of thing I wanted to see. In fact, I think one guy gets his arm back at some point. And my biggest complaint? No girls. ( )
  theWallflower | Aug 3, 2015 |
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The story of a teenager named Phillip who is blind and is told by his father that Phillip has telekinetic powers. He attends a school for those with similar powers but soon finds that others harass him because he is put in a special education class. He and his friends call themselves the Ables and discover that a malevolent force is going after humans.

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